Geographies in Depth

Chinese investment in Africa: which sectors get the most?

Arwen Armbrecht
Writer and social media producer, Freelance
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Geographies in Depth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how China is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


China’s relationship with Africa has been gaining momentum, and according to recent data from Pew Research, African people are seeing the benefits. Of the nations surveyed, only Uganda does not see China as the world’s leading economic power, ahead of the United States. All African nations had a “favourable view” of China, a finding that echoes a poll carried out in 2014 by the BBC, which found Africans to hold a positive opinion of China.

A commonly held belief is that Chinese investment in Africa is primarily resource heavy, but new findings in a paper titled Why is China investing in Africa? Evidence from the firm level show that a great deal more investment (based on frequency of investment) is going into the business sector and retail.

The top areas of Chinese investment in Africa, by frequency, are:


The following chart, meanwhile, shows the African countries which have received the most Chinese investment:


Have you read?
What China’s economic shift means for Africa
Why Africa needs to become more like China

How can China find new routes to growth?

Author: Donald Armbrecht is a freelance writer and social media producer.

Image: A Chinese worker walks past a construction site in Lubango, Angola REUTERS/Herculano Coroado

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Geographies in DepthGeo-Economics and Politics
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

The Horn of Africa's deep groundwater could be a game-changer for drought resilience

Bradley Hiller, Jude Cobbing and Andrew Harper

May 16, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum